Screen To Stage Musical Transfer ‘Once’ Recoups In Record Time

Deadline Hollywood, August 13th 2012

Producers of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical ONCE announced today that the production has recouped its capitalization after only 21 weeks (169 performances), faster than any new Broadway musical in more than a decade.

ONCE is produced by Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo, Brian Carmody, Michael G. Wilson, Orin Wolf, The Shubert Organization and Executive Producer Robert Cole, in association with New York Theatre Workshop.

ONCE opened on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, and went on to win eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. The production was also named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critic Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards.

ONCE features a book by award-winning Irish playwright & screenwriter, Enda Walsh (Penelope, Hunger, The New Electric Ballroom), the Academy Award-winning music and lyrics of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, direction by the acclaimed John Tiffany (Black Watch), movement by Steven Hoggett (Black Watch, American Idiot) and music supervision and orchestrations by Martin Lowe (Mamma Mia!).

The set and costume design are by six time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (The Coast of Utopia, Mary Poppins), lighting design is by three time Tony winner Natasha Katz (Aida, The Coast of Utopia), and sound design is by Clive Goodwin.

ONCE will begin a US national tour booked by The Road Company in the summer of 2013.

The cast of ONCE features Steve Kazee as ‘Guy’ and Cristin Milioti as ‘Girl.’ Also in the company are David Abeles, Will Connolly, Elizabeth A. Davis, David Patrick Kelly, Eliza Holland Madore, Anne L. Nathan, Lucas Papaelias, Ripley Sobo, Andy Taylor, Erikka Walsh, Paul Whitty, and J. Michael Zygo.

ONCE is the celebrated new musical based on the Academy Award-winning film. It tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together. Brought to the stage by an award-winning team of visionary artists and featuring an ensemble cast of gifted actor/musicians, ONCE is a musical celebration of life and love: thrilling in its originality, daring in its honesty… and unforgettable in every way.

The 2007 Academy Award-winning film, ONCE, was written and directed by John Carney, and starred Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, with original music and lyrics by Mr. Hansard and Ms. Irglová.

ONCE was originally developed at the American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, Massachusetts) in April 2011; Diane Paulus, Artistic Director; Diane Borger, Producer.

A developmental run of ONCE at New York Theatre Workshop (James C. Nicola and William Russo) began performances on November 15, 2011 and opened December 6. The production broke box office records and concluded a sold out engagement including a two week extension through January 15th, 2012.

Katie Holmes Will Return To Broadway In ‘Dead Accounts’

The New York Times, July 19th 2012

Katie Holmes, who has kept a relatively high profile in New York City since making it her post-Tom Cruise home, is about to anchor herself professionally to Manhattan as well. Ms. Holmes, 33, will return to Broadway this fall to star in the new family comedy “Dead Accounts” by Theresa Rebeck, a Pulitzer Prize finalist whose play “Seminar” was an audience favorite on Broadway last season.

Ms. Holmes will portray a fairly unglamorous character, Lorna, who is living with her aging parents in Cincinnati while trying to pull together her life (which includes being on a diet). “Dead Accounts,” which had its world premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park last winter, also focuses on one of her siblings, a prodigal son who returns home with secrets, including a load of new money and a missing wife.

The Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien (“The Coast of Utopia,” “Hairspray”) is directing the five-character play, which will run at the Music Box Theater.

Ms. Holmes, who made her Broadway debut in 2008 in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” as the love interest Ann, has settled in New York with her and Mr. Cruise’s daughter, Suri, after her lawyer announced in late June that she was filing for divorce after five-and-a-half years of marriage. Ms. Holmes, who has been frequently photographed around town with her daughter, declined an interview request on Thursday, but said in a statement, “I am thrilled to be coming back to the Broadway community and honored to be a part of this team.”

Performance dates and casting for the four other roles will be announced shortly.

Ms. Rebeck was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004 for “Omnium Gatherum,” and made her Broadway debut with “Mauritius” in 2007. “Seminar,” a five-person ensemble comedy like “Dead Accounts,” starred Alan Rickman and Lily Rabe and closed on Broadway in May.

Katie Holmes To Return To Broadway In Theresa Rebeck’s Dead Accounts

Broadway.com, July 19th 2012

Katie Holmes is set to return to Broadway as Lorna in Dead Accounts, a new play by Theresa Rebeck. Directed by Jack O’Brien, Dead Accounts is slated to open at the Music Box Theatre in fall 2012. Additional casting and production dates will be announced shortly.

Dead Accounts is a five-character comedy that centers around Jack, whose unexpected return throws his family into a frenzy. His sister Lorna (Holmes) needs answers. Is he coming home or running away? Where is his wife everyone hates? And how did he get all that money? The new play tackles the timely issues of corporate greed, small town values, and whether or not your family will always welcome you back…with no questions asked.

Holmes, whose recent divorce from film star Tom Cruise has been widely covered in the press, made her Broadway debut in All My Sonsin 2008. Best known as Joey on TV’s Dawson’s Creek, Holmes’ additional film and TV credits include Batman Begins, Go, Phone Booth, The Kennedys, Pieces of April and Mad Money.

Rebeck’s Broadway playwriting credits include Seminar and Mauritius. She is the creator of the NBC Broadway-centric TV series Smash. Rebeck’s screenplays include Harriet the Spy, Sunday on the Rocksand Gossip.

Tony Awards 2012: Once Wins Best Musical

The Telegraph, June 11th 2012

Once, the musical adaption of an unlikely love story of a Dublin street performer and an Czech piano player, won eight Tony Awards on Sunday including the best musical award.The wins for the humble, intimate stage musical adapted from the 2006 independent film Once included awards for best musical, best book, orchestrations, scenic design, sound design, best actor in a musical and best direction for Briton John Tiffany in his first Tony victory.

“Once is a story about when people believe in each other, they can move on in life, and so many people have believed in this project,” Mr Tiffany said in his acceptance speech.

Actor Steve Kazee fought back tears as he thanked his cast members, including his leading lady Cristin Milioti, and said after his mother died early on in performances, they “carried me around and made me feel alive and I will never be able to fully repay them.”

Clybourne Park, a satire on race relations, won best play, with playwright Bruce Norris telling the audience that since the play premiered more than two years ago off-Broadway, “I have made so many friends in regional theatres and in other theatres around the world who have worked on this play.”

Clybourne Park won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for best play. British comedian James Corden upset Philip Seymour Hoffman to win best actor in a play for his comic turn in the London transplant spoof, One Man, Two Guvnors, while Nina Arianda won best actress in a play for her sexy performance in Venus In Fur.

 

Esteemed film and stage director Mike Nichols was an early winner for his direction of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Nichols has won a record-setting six Tony Awards for best direction of a play. He also has been honoured twice as a producer.

“You see before you a happy man,” Nichols, 80, said, thanking Miller’s daughter, Rebecca Miller, for permission to stage the play that also won best revival of a play.

Nichols also thanked Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield as “a cast straight from heaven” and said the play, which premiered in 1949, “gets truer as time goes by.”

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, a reinvention of the 1935 opera and comedy, won best revival of a musical and Audra McDonald won best actress in a musical for her stirring performance as Bess.

The awards show kicked off with host Neil Patrick Harris welcoming the audience to the 66th Tony Awards, “or as we like to call it, ‘Fifty Shades of Gay,'” referencing Broadway’s campy reputation and the popular erotic fiction novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Judith Light of Other Desert Cities was an early winner for best actress in a featured role in a play.

“I feel like I am the luckiest girl in New York tonight,” said Light, who first found fame in 1980s TV sitcom Who’s The Boss.

Other winners included Judy Kaye and Michael McGrath for their featured roles in the comedy musical Nice Work If You Can Get It, and Christian Borle for his hilarious turn in the Peter Pan prequel, “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

“Once,”, which features the Oscar-winning song, “Falling Slowly,” received a total of eight Tonys. “Peter and the Starcatcher” captured five trophies.

The Disney production “Newsies,” based on a 1899 New York newsboys strike, won best original score.

The awards show featured star-packed performances from this season’s musicals, plays and revivals. Presenters included Paul Rudd, Ch ristopher Plummer an d Angela Lansbury.

‘Once’ Basks In Glow Of 8 Tony Awards

The New York Times, June 11th 2012

This just in: The Tony Award-winning musical “Once” is a hit.

Following in the footsteps of the low-budget Irish film that inspired the musical, “Once” has delivered a return on its initial $5.5-million investment in just six months. The film version, which starred musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglová, was made for $150,000 and went on to earn roughly $20 million as the left-field indie hit of 2006.

The bittersweet romantic musical “Once” was the unexpectedly dominant winner at the 66th annual Tony Awards on Sunday night, winning best musical, best actor, and six other Tonys, in a highly competitive year for Broadway honors. Many of the celebrated shows, including “Once” and the play “Peter and the Starcatcher,” were notable for their imaginative theatricality, inventive staging and ensembles of little-known theater actors, instead of the big-budget or star-driven productions that often prevail on Tony night.“Peter and the Starcatcher,” a prequel to the classic Peter Pan story, won five Tonys, the most for any straight play this year, but fell short of winning the top award in its field: the best-play Tony went to “Clybourne Park,” a satire of race relations by Bruce Norris that won the Pulitzer Prize for drama last year. It was the only award for “Clybourne,” reflecting Tony voters’ tendency to spread the good news; 11 musicals and plays won at least one Tony, out of 37 eligible shows.

“Once,” a slowly unfolding tale of two Dublin musicians falling in love, emerged early as the night’s favorite, winning for John Tiffany’s direction and for its book, by the Irish playwright Enda Walsh, as well as for set, lighting, sound design and orchestrations. (The actors in “Once” double as the show’s band.)

Near the end of the broadcast Steve Kazee, who plays the emotionally broken guitarist at the center of “Once,” won for best actor and used his acceptance speech to thank his cast mates for bucking him up after his mother’s death in April, shortly after the musical opened.

“This cast has carried me around, and made me feel alive, and I will never be able to fully repay them,” Mr. Kazee said.

The other lead acting Tonys went to Audra McDonald, winning her fifth Tony (at age 41) as Bess in the musical revival of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess”; James Corden as the comic manservant in the British play “One Man, Two Guvnors”; and Nina Arianda as a sexy, mysterious actress in the play “Venus in Fur.”

Ms. McDonald, who recently returned to Broadway after four years acting on television, delivered a speech that honored the stage as a refuge for actors. “I was a little girl with a potbelly, hyperactive and overdramatic, and I found the theater, and I found my home,” she said.

Ms. Arianda squealed with delight several times during her speech, and paid tribute to, among others, the actor Christopher Plummer, who presented her with the award. “You were my first crush,” she told Mr. Plummer.

The other leading contender for best musical was the Disney production “Newsies,” an audience favorite about New York newsboys on strike in 1899. “Newsies” started the night with eight nominations and won two Tonys, for choreography and score. The latter award gave the eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken his long-awaited first Tony, shared with the lyricist Jack Feldman.

In his acceptance speech Mr. Menken described the journey of “poor ‘Newsies’ ” — from the 1992 film version “that earned nothing at the box office” to the current Broadway adaptation that is grossing nearly $1 million a week, among the biggest box-office takes of any new show this season.

“We owe it to the generations of kids that have adopted this movie and insisted that it be brought to the stage,” Mr. Menken said, referring to the years of requests to Disney that the film be turned into a musical.

Among the best-known winners on Sunday was Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director who had previously earned six Tonys for directing plays and musicals on Broadway; he received a seventh for staging “Death of a Salesman.” When his name was announced, he kissed his wife, Diane Sawyer, and then took the stage and declared himself “extremely touched” by the honor. He recalled that the Beacon Theater, site of the Tony Awards ceremony, was his neighborhood movie house as a kid, where he once won a pie-eating contest during a Saturday matinee.

“It was nice, but this is nicer,” said Mr. Nichols, who is 80. “You see before you a happy man,” he continued, thanking playwright Arthur Miller’s daughter Rebecca and “a cast straight from heaven,” led by Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman.

“I can’t talk about them,” Mr. Nichols said, choking up. “I love them too much.”

As expected, “Salesman” also won the Tony for best revival of a play, the third time that Miller’s drama has won in that category. (It also won for best play in 1949.) But in something of a surprise, the show’s two male leads — playing a tormented father and son — were defeated by actors giving outsized comic performances: Mr. Hoffman lost to Mr. Corden, and Andrew Garfield, who took on the part of Biff soon after shooting the title role in the forthcoming “Amazing Spider-Man” movie, lost to Christian Borle, a foppish pirate in “Peter and the Starcatcher,” as best supporting actor in a play.

Another surprise was “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” for best musical revival, a category where the beloved 1971 musical “Follies” had many ardent fans among Tony voters. (“Follies,” which has music by Stephen Sondheim, has now lost once as best musical and twice for its revivals.) “Porgy and Bess” was controversial for efforts to update the show, but it had two acclaimed performers in the title roles, Norm Lewis and Ms. McDonald, as well as the music of George and Ira Gershwin, who producer Jeffrey Richards thanked first in his acceptance speech — along with DuBose Heyward, who created the characters in his original novel “Porgy.”

Mr. Walsh, the “Once” book writer, known for emotionally intense plays like “Misterman,” remarked in his acceptance speech about being an odd choice to write the romance-driven plot of “Once,” which was based on a 2006 Irish film of the same title.

“It’s like getting the rights to ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and then getting Charles Manson to write it,” Mr. Walsh said.

Other featured acting honors went to Judith Light as the acerbic alcoholic aunt in “Other Desert Cities” and to Michael McGrath and Judy Kaye as opposites-who-attract in the musical “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”

Ms. Light, a veteran of television (“Who’s the Boss?,” “One Life to Live”) who was also nominated for an acting Tony last year for the play “Lombardi,” appeared slightly shocked as she took the stage; she won in a competitive field that included Linda Emond, who gave a critically acclaimed performance as Linda Loman in “Salesman.”

“I feel like I’m the luckiest girl in New York tonight,” Ms. Light said, before thanking the cast and crew of “Other Desert Cities” — as well as her father, who died this spring.

Hosted by the television actor Neil Patrick Harris, the Tonys began with a mix of musical numbers that included a song from last year’s winner for best musical, “The Book of Mormon,” and a sampling of Christopher Gattelli’s choreography for “Newsies.”

Mr. Harris’s comic bits included being lowered, upside-down in classic Spider-Man position, and taking a gentle shot at the technical troubles last year in the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” He continued to hang there during remarks by the actress Angela Lansbury and the theater executive Ted Chapin, who laced their comments with aerial references. As for “Spider-Man” itself, that $75 million musical lost in the categories of musical sets and costumes, its only nominations.

As the front-runners for best musical, “Once” and “Newsies” had more in common than many past rivals for the award: both were low budget by Broadway standards, costing about $5 million each, and were based on movies that had ardent fans but not much commercial success.

Enthusiasm was also high among Tony voters for all the best-play nominees: “Clybourne,” “Desert Cities,” “Peter and the Starcatcher” and “Venus in Fur.” The field stood out from past years because the four plays, all by American writers, had their starts at respected Off Broadway theaters and drew critical acclaim for intelligent plotting, character development and weighty roles.

Only Broadway shows are eligible for Tonys, with awards decided by a pool of 851 voters, about 70 percent of whom usually cast ballots. (Many of the others chose not to vote because they did not see enough of the nominated shows.) The voters are a mix of theater producers, directors, designers, actors and tour presenters — some of whom have commercial interests in the nominees.

Jeff Goldblum To Lead Seminar At L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre

Broadway.com, May 31st 2012

Oscar and Emmy nominee Jeff Goldblum will teach L.A. audiences a lesson as tough-as-nails writing instructor Leonard in Theresa Rebeck’s acclaimed play Seminar. Goldblum, who played the role on Broadway, will recreate his performance for the West Coast premiere. Directed by Sam Gold, Seminar will kick off the Ahmanson Theatre’s 2012-2013 season with performances beginning October 10 and continuing through November 18. Opening night is scheduled for October 17. No further casting has been announced.

Seminar follows acclaimed novelist Leonard (Goldblum) as he teaches a private literary class to a group of four young writers. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored.

The show opened on Broadway on November 20, 2011, starring Alan Rickman in the role of Leonard. Goldblum assumed the role of Leonard on April 3 and the production closed on May 6. The Los Angeles premiere will feature the complete Broadway design team.

Time Out Theater Review: “Seminar”

Time Out Theatre Review, December 25th, 2011

Alan Rickman stars in the edgy comedy “Seminar.” Time Out New York contributing critic David Cote filed the following review.

I’m sure there are countless actors who would pay big bucks to take a master class with Alan Rickman. The British star has intelligence, charisma, that unmistakable voice. But after seeing him tear through four aspiring novelists in “Seminar,” maybe prospective protégés will think twice.

It’s dangerous when writers lampoon the publishing world, as Theresa Rebeck does in her sexy, savvy dark-edged new comedy. You never believe their wünderkinds are so wonderful, and they tend to make bad writing crummy beyond credibility. And so Rebeck wisely curtails recitation of manuscripts. Instead we watch Alan Rickman’s Leonard—a former hotshot author turned star editor—as he pages through student submissions. A curl of the lip, a twitch of the eyebrow, a flare of the nostrils: These nonverbal signs speak volumes.

Lovingly crafting this monster of unquenchable sexual and literary appetites, Rickman gives the comic performance of the season. But then, he’s surrounded by a sparky quartet of younger actors—Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, Jerry O’Connell and Hettienne Park—each of them balancing sexiness and charm with character flaws, mostly of the greedy, lustful or prideful variety. And all the actors and ace director Sam Gold have a doozy of a script at their disposal.

Rebeck’s character-driven comedy sizzles with trash-talk, writerly one-upsmanship, shifting loyalties and gloriously eloquent put-downs, usually coming from the cynical, truth-telling, acid-tongued Leonard.

What have we learned by the end of the delectably funny “Seminar?” Publishing is a jungle, and it’s best to have a big-toothed cat like Alan Rickman by your side.

Alan Rickman Is Head Of A Talented Class In ‘Seminar’

USA Today, November 20th 2011>

NEW YORK – In the first scene of Theresa Rebeck‘s new comedy, Seminar (* * * out of four), we’re introduced to a group of aspiring young writers who represent a compendium of clichés.

 

Kate is a wry feminist from a wealthy family, living in a rent-controlled (by her parents) luxury apartment. Martin is her high school friend, less privileged and more dour, with a glaring chip on his shoulder. Douglas has enjoyed perks similar to Kate’s and oozes a glib confidence. Izzy is Kate’s foil, an up-by-her-bootstraps hottie who wields her sensuality with no apologies.

The four have been brought together, in Kate’s vast bachelorette pad, by a chance to study with Leonard, a revered author and editor whose teaching methods suggest a sadistic military commander with an unexpectedly fluid vocabulary.

Characters turn out to be different than they appear on the surface, though in predictable ways. Yet Seminar, which opened Sunday at Broadway’s Golden Theatre, is consistently clever and entertaining — and, under Sam Gold’s briskly intelligent direction, a fine showcase for extraordinary actors.

They include the formidable Alan Rickman as Leonard, who returned to the role Friday night after an “acute respiratory infection” led to the cancellation of Thursday’s preview (and the first missed performance of his career). If Rickman was feeling under the weather, it registered as part of Leonard’s emotional malaise. Perhaps the most banal figure in Rebeck’s play — a brilliant roué whose brutish behavior toward others masks his own regrets — this literary lion nonetheless has some delicious lines, and the actor serves them with robust elegance while suggesting a wounded humanity that transcends stereotype.

Rickman has a superb sparring partner in Hamish Linklater, whose Martin comes closest to his tutor in both ability and contentiousness. It’s obvious from the start that Leonard will eventually see something of himself in this nerdy, contrary young man. But Linklater ensures that Martin is also his own person — tender beneath his hard shell, funny and heartbreakingly real.

Those qualities also apply to Lily Rabe’s Kate, a Bennington alum who responds to Leonard’s first shot of venom by stuffing her face with ice cream and chips. Rabe’s most recent triumph was her luminous Portia in last season’s revival of The Merchant of Venice; here, she approaches what is in essence a smartly written sitcom character with reserves of wit, insight and exuberance that few actresses twice her age could summon.

Jerry O’Connell is a hilarious Douglas, managing just the right willful cluelessness, while Hettienne Park captures Izzy’s lack of self-consciousness and matter-of-fact sass without overplaying her carnality.

Thanks to these performances, Seminar proves an enriching study.

Tony Winners Norbert Leo Butz And Frank Wood Join Penn Badgley In Greetings From Tim Buckley

Broadway.com, August 27th 2011

Tony Award winners Norbert Leo Butz and Frank Wood have joined the cast of the forthcoming feature film Greetings from Tim Buckley, according to Variety. The movie, which begins filming on August 22 in New York, will star Gossip Girl cast member Penn Badgley as singer Jeff Buckley and is directed by Dan Algrant.

Butz (a Tony winner for Catch Me If You Can) and Anything Goes cast member Jessica Stone will play concert producers Hal Wilner and Janine Nichols, and Wood (a Tony winner for Side Man) will play songwriter Gary Lucas, a collaborator of Jeff Buckley. Also featured are Ben Rosenfield (recently seen off-Broadway in Through a Glass Darkly) as Tim Buckley, Imogen Poots (Fright Night), Bill Sadler, Richard Hell and U.K. pop star Kate Nash.

Greetings from Tim Buckley is set in the days leading up to a 1991 tribute concert credited with launching the music career of Tim Buckley’s son Jeff, who drowned in 1997. The movie is one of three rival projects centering on the young singer, including an untitled feature film to star Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark star Reeve Carney. (Variety reports that Carney will begin filming in November.) The Carney movie has been awarded the rights to Jeff Buckley’s music and personal archives, the use of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and the blessing of Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert, who is also executive-producing.


Alan Rickman To Return To Broadway In ‘Seminar’

The New York Times, June 28th 2011

We have every reason to believe that deep down, Alan Rickman is a decent, warm-hearted individual, if his affectionate farewell letter to the “Harry Potter” movies is any indication. But after playing the sinister Severus Snape in the final installment of that boy-wizard franchise this summer, Mr. Rickman will next be portraying another in his long line of memorable creeps in “Seminar,” a new play by Theresa Rebeck that will open on Broadway in the fall.

“Seminar,” a dark comedy, casts Mr. Rickman as Leonard, a legendary author who provides private instruction to four promising young writers. But, as a news release for the production says ominously, “as Leonard deems some students more promising than others, tensions arise. Sex is used as a weapon, alliances are made and broken, and it’s not just the wordplay that turns vicious.”

Mr. Rickman previously appeared on Broadway in the 2002 revival of “Private Lives” and the 1987 production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” receiving Tony nominations for both. He recently starred in the Abbey Theater’s production of “John Gabriel Borkman” that was presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and has dangled perilously off the edge of skyscrapers in films like “Die Hard.”

“Seminar” is Ms. Rebeck’s first play to be presented on Broadway since “Mauritius” in 2007. Sam Gold, an Obie Award winner for his direction of “Circle Mirror Transformation” and “The Aliens,” will make his Broadway debut as a director with this production.

Jeffrey Finn and Jill Furman will produce “Seminar,” which will be presented at a Shubert theater. Performance dates and additional casting are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Penn Badgley To Play Singer Jeff Buckley In Biopic

Deadline Hollywood, June 20th 2011

New York, NY (June 20, 2011) – Smuggler Films announced today Penn Badgley will star in the much anticipated film Greetings from Tim Buckley. He will play Tim Buckley’s son Jeff in the first film to be made about the musicians. There has been much speculation regarding the casting of Jeff Buckley as many of Hollywood’s hottest stars were interested in playing one of the most remarkable music artists of his generation. Greetings from Tim Buckley was written by Dan Algrant, Emma Sheanshang and David Brendel and will be directed by Dan Algrant (People I Know, Naked in New York).

Greetings from Tim Buckley follows the true story of the days leading up to Jeff Buckley’s eminent 1991 performance at his father’s tribute concert in St. Ann’s Church. Through a romance with a young woman working at the concert, he comes to understand the father who abandoned him. Culminating in a cathartic performance of his father’s most famous songs, Jeff’s debut stuns the audience and launches his career as one of the greatest young musicians of his time.

Penn Badgley said, “To play a man who was singularly gifted as an artist, greatly misunderstood & mythologized as a human being… It’s something very special and sacred. I’m going to give all I can to this project.”

Patrick Milling Smith of Smuggler Films. “In its purest form this is a father and son story, a rite of passage that is made possible by a romantic journey Jeff finds himself on. We see Jeff accepting who he is to become and laying to rest the ghost of his father while ultimately finding his voice. We had been searching well over a year for an actor that can come close to Jeff’s spirit while also having the serious musical chops required to authentically tell this story. Penn’s audition blew us away and we knew we found our star.”

Greetings from Tim Buckley is in preproduction and will start shooting this August in New York City. Production entities behind the movie are SMUGGLER Films, A-Z productions and Second Chance productions. The film is being produced by Patrick Milling Smith, John N. Hart (Revolutionary Road, You Can Count On Me), Fred Zollo (Quiz Show, Mississippi Burning). Executive Producers are Brian Carmody, Jill Footlick (Boys Don’t Cry, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee) and Ben Limberg. Director of Photography is Andrij Parekh (Blue Valentine, Half Nelson). Casting Director Avy Kaufman.

 


Broadway Review: Onstage, Gorgeous ‘Once’ Has A Heart All Its Own

The Chicago Tribune, March 18th 2011

NEW YORK — — There are plenty of romantic Broadway musicals. But “Once,” the gorgeously crafted and intensely moving new show that opened on Broadway on Sunday night after a seamless transition from downtown to the main stem, is part of a much smaller and more rarefied group: musicals that are actually wise — even when that means being counterintuitive — about the joys and anguish of life and love, and that send the viewer’s mind spinning with ideas, feelings and maybe even a few changes in personal priorities. “Once” does all that. Several times over.

Here’s how. The musical, which has a masterful, even revelatory, book by the Irish playwright Enda Walsh and earnest, unpretentious music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, offers simultaneous pictures of love in its many stages, even though it’s centered on just one couple who meet on the streets of Dublin. (Hansard and Irglova starred as that couple in the 2006 independent movie, written and directed by John Carney, from which “Once” is drawn.)

In the stage version, Guy (Steve Kazee, whose performance has roughened and deepened greatly from the New York Theatre Workshop production) is the same street guitar player, emotionally blocked by his own lack of success and the disappearance to New York of the girl he loves. Girl (the exquisite Cristin Milioti, who just seems to float through the theater like some weird but essential Czech angel) is an optimistic immigrant and young mother who works through her own emotional pain by taking on a project external to her own heart and helping someone else realize his potential. We should all have such a person in our lives.

In other words, the central love story is one that floats always on the edge of Eros (there are subtle shades here of a reversed “Cyrano de Bergerac” centered on the heart rather than mere verbosity), which not only infuses the proceedings with both a startling intensity and a profound sadness, but also allows for a rush of understanding of what must happen to love when one of the lovers has, well, responsibilities that must be taken seriously.

In such circumstances, the show suggests, life on the edge of full love is the only life that can ever be beautiful. Furthermore, “Once” offers a rush of new understanding of how those who succeed in life and love often do so because an unselfish someone either talked them into getting out of bed in the morning or removed some great boulder lying in the way. Kazee and Milioti — not to mention David Patrick Kelly, who plays Guy’s loving father, and Elizabeth A. Davis, who plays one of the many supportive Czechs who surround this Girl — are so precise and specific to a particular time and place that they become potent representatives of every moment of the heart in every stubborn locale.

Not bad for a little musical populated by 14 actor-musicians — all set in the middle of an onstage Dublin bar that serves pre-show drinks — and featuring a simple, folk-influenced score that’s a long way from the usual pop-Broadway hybrid that dominates most musical adaptations.

But this is no traditional screen-to-stage adaptation. Rather, it’s a textbook example of how to do it right: Chapter 1 being, forget most of the movie and build a show. Along with director John Tiffany and movement artist Steven Hoggett (whose unusual work is this show’s most potent emotional weapon; you should see the moment when a mother wraps around a distressed soul with her body, as if she were a piece of clothing), Walsh understands that you don’t need all the clutter of short scenes, merely the essence of the story that will allow human actors to forge a direct, live connection. Everything you see, hear and feel is inherently theatrical — literality drops away like Dublin street noise as you head to an undiscovered country, and you start to feel things that the movie simply could not make you feel. The characters deepen, and their dilemmas seem to pulse directly to you.

 

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